Arctic Trekkers raise thousands of pounds for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance
An intrepid team of willing individuals have taken part in an arctic trek in Finland, raising an incredible £23,251 for local life-saving charity, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).
Taking place over five days in March, the 21 ‘trekkers’ undertook a series of challenges that included snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and husky sledding – all which tested their stamina and endurance.
One of the artic trekkers was Rob Haslam.
He lives in Hatfield Heath and has his own project management consultancy, JBJ Associates, which specialises in delivering sustainable and green energy and reducing clients’ energy bills.
Rob had previously undertaken EHAAT’s Sahara Trek in 2022 and found it such an incredible experience that he had no hesitation in signing up for the Arctic Adventure.
He said: “The Sahara Trek sounded like something completely different and fun; I had no idea what a complete emotional rollercoaster it was going to be. After that, signing up for the Finland trek was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
“Not only was the trek a way to escape from the world, but I got to meet a real mixture of great people and spent a large amount of the time just laughing – the moment we ‘all’ completed the snowshoeing on the third day was a crazy achievement, never to be forgotten! I have felt totally privileged meeting members of the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance team who came with us. They do incredible work, every day, and being able to help and contribute was the least I could do.”
Another trekker was Earls Colne resident, Cherry Mckean MBE.
She has lived in the village for 16 years and is a director of the independent minimal waste store, Ecolnes Refillery, on the High Street. Being based so close to EHAAT’s airbase, she sees how often the air ambulance takes off from the airfield.
She said, “I know people in the village that have had to use the air ambulance and it’s just an amazing service that we need to support in our community.
“I found out about the trek on my birthday back in December. I saw the challenge and I thought wow! I had never experienced anything like that, and I felt it was really going to push me outside of my comfort zone. I also wanted to do something for me, so I thought why not?
“It was so easy to sign up and I really enjoyed the training, even though it was through January and February. I also really enjoyed planning and organising my fundraising events, and with the support of the amazing community in Earls Colne, I managed to personally raise £3,200.
“By far the best part of the trek – apart from the huskies, skiing, ice fishing, camp fire dancing and beautiful Finland – was the people that I had the pleasure to meet. I have made some amazing friendships, bonding through the many experiences we had, such as pulling each other out of the deep snow.
“This trek gave me such a buzz and I can’t wait for the next one wherever that will be.”
Shaun Marshall is an Emergency Medical Technician for the East of England Ambulance Service and lives in Hatfield Peverel.
He has experienced first-hand what Essex & Herts Air Ambulance can do and said: “I am an attending clinician and EHAAT’s help is very much welcomed. They bring life-saving equipment and experience to the scene quickly to help seriously unwell patients and, as they are a charity, without the financial support from fundraising and donations, they would be unable to provide this.
“The biggest thing I got out of doing the trek was the huge amounts raised. It was also a personal challenge to complete something as tough as this.”
Katy Flower lives in Chelmsford where she runs her marketing agency, More Pepper.
She joined the Finland trek because she wanted a challenge. “I had put some weight on from Covid and needed a kickstart. I was struggling to get motivated, but I need to stay fit and healthy as my Dad passed of a heart attack at the age of 45 and my brother has also had two heart attacks. So, I decided the best way to get my backside up and training, would be to do a challenge, and who better to do it for, than EHAAT. They have been close to my heart for many reasons over many years and they rescued a close friend of mine from a road traffic collision.
“The process of registering and joining was extremely easy and the support was great. We had a WhatsApp group, so all trekkers got to know each other before we went. The people I met were amazing and their enthusiasm and determination was humbling; I feel very proud that I have achieved it – anyone that knows me, knows this isn’t my thing, let’s just say I like my home comforts!”
Helen Goodwin, who lives in Maldon, had a more personal reason for taking part in the trek.
Pictured with fellow trekker Charlotte Evans, she explained: “As one of the patient and family liaison team at EHAAT I meet and speak to people who have been directly helped by our crews. I know that bringing the hospital to the patient makes such a big difference.
“Prior to the trip I managed to raise over £4,500, mainly by doing CPR and AED training to people in the local communities of Maldon, Goldhanger, Totham, Wickham Bishops and Tiptree. Not only were they great fundraising opportunities, but they gave people the confidence to use defibrillators, and start bystander CPR – things that make the difference and are key for the chain of survival.
“I regularly walk 10k steps a day and have done fundraising treks previously, but the 6-7 hours a day snowshoeing in knee-deep powder snow really was a true physical test – one we got through together as a team. Yet, the biggest things I got out of the trek personally were, fulfilling my ambition to see the Aurora Borealis, and experiencing the peaceful silence in the Arctic Circle.”
Acting as an agent for Discover Adventure, EHAAT laid on Trek 2023 as part of its annual trek programme, providing a more adventurous way for people to raise funds for the charity.
Emma Barker, Head of Income Generation at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, added: “What I love most about our treks is the way in which they bring people together. The atmosphere is supportive; we always send a representative from our charity to participate and to keep spirits high. The challenge element, integral to all our treks, is the very thing that bonds our trekkers and many of them form friendships for life. They are all amazing and every year they generate much-needed funds for the charity. We are so grateful to each and every one of them.”
For more information on way you can support Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, or to donate visit https://www.ehaat.org.